CEA levels up, but still NED?

bryancarson Member Posts: 47
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Hi guys. I have a question that I hope you can answer. I have been through all of this a couple times, but this is the first time that I have had an increase in my CEA, it's at 7.5, but there is nothing showing on a CT or PET scan. My Dr. is just watching blood tests closely and says he doesn't expect to see any tumor growth. Has this ever happened to any of you? Any responses would be great. Thanks.


  • alihamilton
    alihamilton Member Posts: 347 Member
    My husband's CEA has gone up very slightly the last two tests, from 2.6 to 3.3 and then to 3.5. He also had nothing show up on the CT scan and the doctor does not seem concerned. I am though! But if nothing shows up, what can they do?

    I do hope things go well for you. I presume you are not on chemo...I hear that chemo treatment can affect levels.
  • taraHK
    taraHK Member Posts: 1,952 Member
    I don't have any direct experience with this -- I'm one of those people whose CEA never rose. But your doctor's advice is what I would expect. Not much more you can do. Best wishes.
  • mwomack
    mwomack Member Posts: 78
    How many tests have there been in which the CEA is steadily rising? Even with the PET scan it is my understanding that cancer has to be so big before it is detected.

    My husband finished chemo in May 05. His CEA on July 1st was 1.2; 2.4 on Sept 8th; so tests were done every 6 weeks.

    2.7 Oct.
    3.6 Dec. (Did CT scan - some changes in lymph nodes from previous scan but no cancer)
    5.5 Jan. (Did PET/Ct and found 1.8cm lesion in the presacral space. They went back to Dec. scan and did find it and it had grown from 1.3cm)

    He had surgery in February and is currently on week 5 of 7 radiation of the full pelvis. Next week they will "cone" in to the presacral space as they did not get clear margins when they removed the mass.

    Also, even though the PET only showed this one hot spot, the onc. suspects there is something else because his CEA did not return to normal after the surgery. As well, even though this is all the PET showed, they would not do the surgery or "go after" the presacral mass until they did exploratory laporascopic surgery to make sure there was no cancer anywhere else. I was like well the PET says there isn't, but that didn't work. They spent 3 1/2 hours looking around before going after the presacral mass. They did find a large mass that scared them, but they did not find any cancer cells in it. I wonder why this large omental mass(10cm x 8.5cm x 4.0cm) mass was never detected on a CT scan???